Norway Faces Escalating Cyber Threats, Emphasizes Cybersecurity Prioritization

A recent report from the National Security Authority (NSM) reveals that Norway is grappling with advanced and targeted cyberattacks, urging heightened cybersecurity measures across society. The report, titled “National Digital Risk Outlook 2023,” highlights a sophisticated cyber assault on 12 Norwegian government departments uncovered this summer. The public administration, high-tech, and commerce sectors remain primary targets, with an uptick in severe incidents affecting the defense sector.

NSM Director Sofie Nystrøm emphasizes the professionalization and specificity of cyberattacks, underlining the persistent need for prioritizing cybersecurity to avert significant societal consequences. Notably, there has been a sixfold increase in distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks since the summer of 2022, impacting entities in transportation, finance, and healthcare.

A concerning development is the motivation behind many DDoS attacks, where Russian-speaking hacktivists attribute their actions to Norway’s support for Ukraine. Nystrøm anticipates a continued trend of DDoS attacks targeting Norwegian businesses, often causing temporary unavailability of websites. She warns that these attacks may evolve, becoming more sophisticated, harder to detect, and part of broader, intricate cyber operations aimed at disruption and diversion.

Highlighting international trends, Nystrøm notes a growing level of professionalism among cyber attackers in Norway. The NSM anticipates that advancements in artificial intelligence and large language models will complicate the ability to distinguish between truth and falsehood. Nystrøm cautions that technological progress enables the widespread dissemination and increased automation of fraud, disinformation, and espionage in ways not fully understood today.